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Kipipiri AP officers arrested over illegal cedar posts trade

Wednesday March 18 2020
cedar-pic

The cedar posts which were seized on March 17, 2020 while being transported in a police vehicle in l Kalou, Nyandarua County. Two AP officers were arrested. PHOTO | WAIKWA MAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WAIKWA MAINA

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers have arrested two Administration Police (AP) officers after they were found transporting red cedar posts along Ol Kalou-Kipipiri road in Nyandarua County.

The posts valued at Sh30,000 were being transported in a police Land Cruiser attached to Kipipiri Police Station and which is normally used by senior AP officers for patrols.

County Ecosystem Conservator Stephen Karega said the officers were waylaid at Kariamu market which is at a junction of a road leading to the Aberdare Forest, about 10 kilometres from Ol Kalou town.

The conservator said his officers laid an ambush after a tip off from the public.

BUYERS

He said the police vehicle is often spotted carrying the posts every weekend, supplying them to buyers in Gilgil and Naivasha.

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“Members of the public have been complaining about the government vehicle transporting the red cedar posts to Gilgil and Naivasha towns. We gathered intelligence and started tracing the vehicle. Investigations have commenced and we thank the public for cooperation,” said Mr Karega.

He said the cedar tree is an indigenous endangered species whose trade remains banned, warning that the forestry department has put in place an elaborate intelligence gathering system which is supported by the community in order to end illegal activities in local forests.

“The members of the public were concerned and were aware of what has been happening. The police vehicle was loaded with 100 posts each selling at Sh300. I warn all those involved that their days have come to an end. We have enough information to end the trade. Those involved should look for some other business to engage in, not destroying the forests at a time when we are talking about climate change and degradation,” said Mr Karega.

The vehicle and the cargo were detained at Ol Kalou KFS headquarters.

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